Terrorism and liberties top agenda for Harlem Désir’s Stockholm visit
At a meeting in Stockholm Monday, France’s EU minister, Harlem Désir, warned of sacrificing democratic rights in the fight against terrorism.
After the recent bloody attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and against a Paris kosher supermarket, the fight against terror and efforts to prevent radicalisation have topped political agendas across Europe.
Those issues were also at the top of the agenda when Désir visited Stockholm Monday and met with Sweden’s minister for foreign affairs, Margot Wallström.
“We spoke about how to fight terror and violent extremism, and how one can defend values that we want to protect, like freedom of speech, democracy and tolerance,” Wallström told news agency TT after her meeting with Désir.
In an interview with TT, Désir stressed that it is important not to be “naive” about the terrorist threat and about radical groups that “do not shy away from killing civilians”. At the same time, he insisted that France will not introduce initiatives that could have far-reaching consequences for civil liberties.
Swedish international law expert, Ove Bring, said that “balancing between human rights and security needs” carries certain risks. “It can impact individuals in an unjust way,” Bring said about the various measures that have been discussed in Europe since the Paris attacks – like removing European citizenship for individuals who have been convicted of terrorism, restricting travel to conflict zones, and registering individuals’ personal data.